Bad weather conditions in the area where a GDF helicopter went missing have hampered the search and rescue operations. The Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier Omar Khan told the media late this afternoon that those missing are some of the best in the Guyana Defence Force. The Bell Helicopter lost communication after a refueling stop at Olive Creek. The helicopter was carrying Colonel Michael Shahoud, commander of the First Infantry Battalion, Brigadier(r’td) Gary Beaton, Lt. Col Sean Welcome, Staff Sergeant Jason Khan, Cpl Dwayne Johnson and was piloted by Lt. Col. Michael Charles, and Lt. Andio Crawford.

The helicopter was on a mission in the border area and emitted an emergency signal about thirty miles east of the village of Arau in the Essequibo this morning. The Chief of Staff said contact was attempted with the helicopter but no communication was obtained. He said there were no reports of any foreign aircraft in the area at the time of the incident. The army says that it had two aircraft in the area and has troops on the ground. The weather conditions may be inhibiting satellite phone communications, the Chief of Staff explained. The Arau area is mountainous and heavily forested.

The search and rescue operations will begin again at the crack of dawn based on the prevailing weather conditions.